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HTF REVIEW: "Road House" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 36 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 14 2003 - 10:20 AM

Posted Image

Road House

Studio: MGM
Year: 1989
Rated: R
Film Length: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)and
Full Frame versions
Subtitles: English, French. Portugese and Spanish

By all accounts I should have hated Road House.
For starters, I am no fan of Patrick Swayze. I am
also no fan of movies about rednecks who are unruley
towards women and like to pick fights in bars. So why
is it that I walked away with a warm and fuzzy
feeling about Road House? Well, rack it up
as one of those guilty pleasures that's pretty darn

Oh, sure, this movie isn't overly melodramatic, and
the dialogue is laughable, but the reason you want
to watch a film like this is for it's bombshell
blondes, gratuitous nudity and some greatly
choreographed ass-kickin' fist fighting.

Posted Image

By far, this is one of the best updated versions of
the old western where the good guy rides in to save
the townsfolk from one evil dude. In this case, the
good guy is Dalton (Patrick Swayze), known to be the
best head bouncer around. Dalton is hired by a man
named Frank Tilghman, (Kevin Tighe) who wants the
"cooler" to clean up his bar, the Double Deuce, which
has fallen prey to all sorts of rowdy lowlifes.

His new stint at the Double Deuce proves to be a
bigger challenge than originally thought. He soon
discovers that the town and its toughest customers
are run by a ruthless, scheming, and crooked town
boss named Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzara). Ben isn't
too happy with the club's new "Sheriff" and vows to
do whatever it takes to get him out of town -- dead
or alive.

Posted Image

When things get really out of control, Dalton enlists
the help of his aging bouncer friend Wade (Sam Elliot),
who helps heat up the screen with more testosterone
than should be legally allowed in one film.

How is the transfer?

Rejoice fans of white trash -- this transfer kicks
a lot of ass! Like many of the recent catalog
releases from MGM, this transfer is superb. Let's
start with a picture that is very clean throughout.
Images are mostly very sharp and well detailed. The
film is extremely colorful, and even in the darker
smoke-filled multi-colored innards of the Double
Deuce bar, there is absolutely no smearing to be
seen. I saw no evidence of film grain nor video
noise. In short, this is a pretty damn good transfer.

Posted Image

Though not presented in true 5.1 surround, I was
shocked at the quality of the audio mix. There's
a lot of punch in this soundtrack starting with
full-bodied audio across the front channels with
nice distinctive stereo separation. Dialogue stays
pretty much in the center channel, only slightly
bleeding to the left and right. The rears do a heck
of a job not only supporting the film's original
music track, but the guitar-screechin' sounds of
the Jeff Healey Band. All of this is supplemented
with minimal LFE response. My only complaint
about the audio is that the band's music often
sounded like echo reverb in the rear channels, but
such is the limitations of the original recording.

Special Features

Posted Image

Of course rednecks want to the picture to fill up
their television screen, so MGM has obliged to this
sect of the population by providing a dual-layered
DVD that contains both a WIDESCREEN and FULL FRAME
version of this film.

Other than that, the only Special Feature to be
found on this disc is the film's original
theatrical trailer
. That's all folks!

Final Thoughts

Posted Image

Do I feel guilty about liking this guilty pleasure?
Heck No! I sort of feel proud that I have come to
a point in my life where I can just accept a movie
for what it is, and enjoy mindless entertainment
void of any moral value whatsoever. Perhaps I am
starting to mellow out in my middle-age after all.

Release Date: February 4, 2003

All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality


Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 36 OFFLINE   Greg S

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Posted January 14 2003 - 10:30 AM

Good review Ron. Its OK to like this movie. I know I enjoy a good "mindless" flick once and while. Life can't always be so serious you have to just kick back and go with the flow sometimes! I will be picking this one up. Hopefully it will be on the cheap list. In another note I see that it looks like MGM is releasing quite a few "catalog" titles coming up (heck look at all the Bronson flicks hitting the streets soon). Its nice to see that they treated this catalog title so well! Thanks MGM!! Greg

#3 of 36 OFFLINE   Randy B A

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Posted January 14 2003 - 10:50 AM

Ron, thanks for the review. I am glad to see the 16x9 transfer is of high quality.

#4 of 36 OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted January 14 2003 - 10:56 AM

Let's have a Patrick Swayze Christmas one and all!
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#5 of 36 OFFLINE   Chris Keen

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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:20 AM

"The Double Douche" It was a pretty good flick. Saved mostly in part by Sam Elliot.
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#6 of 36 OFFLINE   Will K

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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:34 AM

Roadhouse...myyyyy precious! Great review, Ron. Nice jab at those fullscreen folks! This looks like a sparkling transfer. Can't wait to triple-bill this with Driving Miss Daisy and Mildred Pierce on 2/4/03! This will go beside its unofficial sequel, To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, on my DVD rack.
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#7 of 36 OFFLINE   James Edward

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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:42 AM

One of my favorite guilty pleasures. I'm glad they did it justice. I'll be picking this one up for sure. Posted Image
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#8 of 36 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted January 14 2003 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for the guilty pleasure review Ron.Posted Image
Picked this up last year on R2, hugely enjoyable, the 1980's was a decade spilling over with guilty pleasure movies, unbelievable! Now all I need is Ron reviewing 'Lifeforce' with some specially selected screenshots and my week will be complete.Posted Image

Region 2 cover...


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#9 of 36 OFFLINE   Steve Clark

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Posted January 14 2003 - 12:09 PM

It isn't just guys who like this movie, but also the ladies. My wife has always had a thing for Patrick Swayze, ever since Young Bloods (the hockey movie). I never really understood the Swayze phenomena (Dirty Dancing, Ghost) myself. I am going to pick this up and surprise the wife with it. Thanks for the review.

#10 of 36 OFFLINE   Ross Williams

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Posted January 14 2003 - 12:32 PM

Major guilty pleasure for me. I can't wait to set my eyes on it in widescreen for the first time.
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#11 of 36 OFFLINE   Dalton



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Posted January 14 2003 - 12:46 PM

Thanks for the review Ron! A big guilty pleasure of mine! Will definetly be added to my collection.

#12 of 36 OFFLINE   John Kilduff

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Posted January 14 2003 - 01:11 PM

You forget one thing...the movie was produced by the moneyed king of testosterone, Joel Silver. Anything with his stamp on it is a guilty pleasure. Back to the movie...I look forward to purchasing this title. Sincerely, John Kilduff... Don't eat the big white mint!
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#13 of 36 OFFLINE   James L White

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Posted January 14 2003 - 01:17 PM

I must confess that I've NEVER seen this movie.Posted Image but it's full of rednecks so I'm there Posted Image

[quote] Like many of the recent catalog releases from MGM, this transfer is superb. [quote] I agree totaly, maybe MGM will go back and redo some of the older catalog releases they miss treated
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#14 of 36 OFFLINE   Jeff Whitford

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Posted January 14 2003 - 04:31 PM

I've been waiting for this one for quite a while. John beat me with the "Dont eat the big white mint"
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#15 of 36 OFFLINE   Tim RH

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Posted January 14 2003 - 05:30 PM

If you want some more guilty pleasures w/ Pat Swayze, be sure to check out the and cheesy, but highly enjoyable NORTH AND SOUTH BOOK I & II TV miniseries. Speaking of which - where's those DVDs, Warner?

#16 of 36 OFFLINE   Jenna


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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:07 PM

Hmmmmm...if I recall, there's a Swayze nude scene here, isn't there? "Guilty" pleasure??? NONE of my pleasures give me any guilt. Posted Image
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#17 of 36 OFFLINE   Win Joy Jr

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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:13 PM

Oh, yes, one fine guilty pleasure! Now, if my other guilty pleasures would just make their way to DVD - Eddie and the Cruisers and Streets of Fire... On Edit: Ok, I just found out that the "Streets of Fire" DVD was released in 1998. Anyone know how the transfer and sound are? On edit 2: Sigh, I have NEVER seen them on the racks anywhere, but I also just found out "Eddie and the Cruisers" is also available... Time to go shopping!

#18 of 36 OFFLINE   James L White

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Posted January 15 2003 - 12:32 AM

[quote] Ok, I just found out that the "Streets of Fire" DVD was released in 1998. Anyone know how the transfer and sound are? [quote] Review 1 review 2
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#19 of 36 OFFLINE   Donnie Eldridge

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Posted January 15 2003 - 01:51 AM

I can't wait! I intentionally held off buying the region 2 version in hopes of it coming out here. I'm glad it finally has. :b
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#20 of 36 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 15 2003 - 05:30 AM

Next time you feel the pain of enjoying a "guilty pleasure" like Road House, just remember: "Pain doesn't hurt." One of my favorite lines ever!
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